Improving Field-Programmable Gate Array Scaling Through Wire Emulation
Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are excellent devices for high-performance computing, system-on-chip realization, and rapid system prototyping. While FPGAs offer flexibility and performance, they continue to lag behind application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) performance and power consumption. As manufacturing technology improves and IC feature size decreases, FPGAs may further lag behind ASICs due to interconnection scalability issues. To improve FPGA scalability, this thesis proposes an architectural enhancement to improve global communications in large FPGAs, where chip-length programmable interconnects are slow. It is expected that this architectural enhancement, based on wire emulation techniques, can reduce chip-length communication latency and routing congestion. A prototype wire emulation system that uses FPGA self-reconfiguration as a non-traditional means of intra-FPGA communication is implemented and verified on a Xilinx Virtex-II XC2V1000 FPGA. Wire emulation benefits and impact to FPGA architecture are examined with quantitative and qualitative analysis.